The TWiG will support and strengthen the sector with regards to addressing issues linked with evidence base and WASH. This will be achieved by:
- Defining gaps in evidence base for humanitarian WASH and in doing so advocating for resources;
- Enabling key research to be disseminated in a coordinated way with maximum outreach;
- Enable sharing of information on key capacity building events especially for field based WASH personnel;
- Promoting partnership at the global and country level between WASH research and WASH implementers; and
- Building a better culture of monitoring and evaluation as a basis to measure our collective impact from inter-sectoral action.
In 2018, the humanitarian WASH Operation Research Technical Working Group was formed, and had an initial meeting in 2019. If you would like to become a member of the TWG, please email here. The Emergency Environmental Health Forum is a forum where humanitarian researchers and practitioners gather to share data, and can be reached here.
Some commonly asked questions about WASH humanitarian research are:
Within the scope of humanitarian WASH and the Global WASH Cluster, research is defined as:
"Pursuing a systematic approach to increased understanding of water, sanitation, or hygiene interventions that aim to improve the health of beneficiaries affected by humanitarian crises."
Humanitarian WASH research is not defined by methodology. Thus, all approaches (quantitative or qualitative methods) are entitled to be considered research, including: evaluations, case studies, reviews, field research, operational research, monitoring and evaluation, anthropological studies, or other approaches. However, the research approach is defined through two systematic components:
1) The approach should be rigorous with well-defined methodology and justification.
2) There are clearly defined outcomes or impacts described through the intervention.
As part of this ongoing effort, the Operational Research Technical Working Group (TWG), organized through the Global WASH Cluster, was established to support research in and around humanitarian WASH. The aim is to both increase and strengthen the evidence base by targeting: new and under-researched areas; and, strengthening existing research. To know more, see here.
The role of the Operational Research TWG is not to define specific research questions, but establish general ‘priority research areas’, including:
- Under-researched Areas - Address documented research gaps among the ‘commonly implemented but severely under-researched interventions’ addressing the WASH interventions with no, weak, or moderate evidence.
- Emerging Contexts – Unique and specialized contexts continue to challenge humanitarian WASH programming. Documenting approaches and learnings from urban, widespread, and/or conflict emergencies contexts (such as the Syrian conflict or the Ebola outbreak in West Africa) are needed to better respond.
- New and Innovative Interventions in Humanitarian WASH – Applying new and innovative approaches must always be pursued to gain understanding and improve humanitarian effectiveness. Innovative interventions such as cash or market-based approaches and fecal sludge management are examples of interventions that have the potential to improve options for the beneficiaries and sustainability.
- The WASH Nexus – WASH is integral to other humanitarian sectors; thus improving the understanding and knowledge of combining WASH with other ‘non-WASH’ interventions has potential for broader successes and increased funding efficiency. WASH is a foundation for both health and nutrition, but there are many gaps for how these sectors can best complement each other. There also remain unknown opportunities for increased understanding with WASH and cholera, specifically with WASH and the oral cholera vaccine, WASH and protection, with safety for women and girls, among other opportunities.
The Global WASH Cluster supports a Technical Working Group (TWG) on 'Operational Research' which is aimed at organizing recent and ongoing humanitarian WASH research. With many research priorities, limited resources, and global reach of many organizations, the Operational Research TWG maintains a 4W (Who, What, Where, When) list of known current and ongoing humanitarian WASH research in an effort minimize overlap and increase coverage of research priorities [Link to Excel table].
Please contact Travis Yates: email@example.com to update your organization's research efforts.